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October 27, 2021

The Top 12 Idaho Veteran Benefits for 2021

A wide range of Idaho veteran benefits (including disabled veteran benefits) are available to augment the federal benefits offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These additional benefits and exemptions support veterans and their families in their return to civilian life.

idaho veteran benefits

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, more than 130,000 veterans make their home in Idaho (7.2% of the population). The Gem State is proud to honor the sacrifice of those who served. 

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What are the top Idaho veteran benefits?

Idaho veteran benefits specifically include:

  • Property tax reductions and exemptions
  • Employment counseling and job search assistance
  • Preference in state employment
  • Support for Idaho women veterans
  • Discounts on hunting and fishing licenses
  • Emergency financial assistance

A veteran’s (or service member’s) military branch, career status, disability status, and residence status can affect benefit eligibility. 

The Idaho Division of Veterans Services administers many of the veteran programs and benefits in Idaho. This is a good place to learn about state and federal benefits and get help with claims and applications.

Read on for the ultimate guide to top Idaho veteran benefits! 


Idaho Veteran Benefits and Exemptions for Taxes

Tax exemptions and reduced rates are provided for Idaho veterans. Two property tax programs provide these benefits. One applies to 100% disabled veterans; the other to veterans with a 10%-90% VA disability rating.   

Idaho veterans benefits property tax

Property Tax Reduction For 100% Disabled Veterans In Idaho 

Idaho’s Veterans Property Tax Reduction benefit reduces property taxes for qualified 100% service-connected disabled veterans by up to $1,320. Property taxes on a home (and up to one acre of land) may be reduced by as much as $1,500. There is no income limit.

Once the reduction is granted, a surviving spouse can continue to use this benefit. However, it is not transferable to a new property after the death of the qualifying veteran.

An Idaho disabled veteran may qualify if:

  • He or she has a 100% VA disability rating, or receives VA disability compensation at 100% rate due to individual unemployability (TDIU),  as of January 1, 2021
  • The Idaho home was his or her primary residence before April 15, 2021

The property must have a current homeowner’s exemption. The home can be a mobile home. 

Note: Idaho disabled veterans may qualify even if they live in a care facility or nursing home. Contact the county assessor’s office for information.

Contact the county assessor for an application or download one here. The county assessor’s office will help with the application, which must be filed between January 1 and April 15.

Note: This benefit isn’t automatically renewed; the veteran must apply and qualify each year. If approved, the benefit will appear on the December 2021 property tax bill.

Property Tax Reduction for 10%-90% Disabled Veterans In Idaho 

Veterans with a VA disability rating of 10%-90% (or those receiving a VA pension for a non-service-connected disability) can qualify for the “Circuit Breaker” tax reduction when they meet residency and income requirements. See the Idaho Property Tax Reduction brochure for more details.

State Income Tax Retired Military Pay Benefit Deduction

An Idaho veteran (or their unremarried widow) who is age 65 or older (or disabled and age 62 or older) and receiving veteran’s retirement benefits may deduct those benefits. This amount being deducted must be reduced by any retirement benefits paid under the Federal Social Security Act or the Tier 1 Federal Railroad Retirement Act. See the Individual Income Tax Instructions for the maximum amount deductible each year. 

Grocery Tax Credit

Idaho veteran benefits for those who are 65 or older (or disabled and age 62 or older) include the Grocery Tax Credit if VA disability benefits are the veteran’s only income. See Income Tax Rule 771 for details. 


More Tax Relief For Idaho Veterans and Idaho Disabled Veterans 

Idaho veteran benefits may also include the following tax relief programs (in addition to or instead of the Veterans Property Tax Reduction benefit). 

Contact your county assessor for more program information or an application.

Property Tax Deferral

This program defers taxes on the home and up to one acre of land for qualified individuals. The deferred taxes become a lien on the property and must be repaid to the State of Idaho. There’s an income limit for this program.

Idaho Veteran Benefits for Retired Military Pay Income Tax Deduction

Idaho veteran benefits provide that retirement payments by the U.S. to a veteran or the unremarried surviving spouse are deductible if the recipient is 65 or older (or disabled and 62 or older). The amount deducted must be reduced by retirement benefits paid under the Federal Social Security Act and the Federal Railroad Retirement Act. 

Idaho veteran tax benefits

See the Idaho State Tax Commission, Individual Income Tax Forms for the maximum amount deductible each year.

You’re classified as disabled if you:

  • are recognized as disabled by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, or the Office of Management and Budget
  • are a veteran of a U.S. war with a service-connected disability rating of 10% or more
  • are a veteran of a U.S. war with a non service-connected disability pension
  • have a physician-certified permanent disability with no expectation of improvement

Learn more about Idaho Retired Military Pay Income Tax Deduction

Idaho Tax Exemption for VA Disability Retired Pay

Idaho veteran benefits state that military disability retirement pay received as a pension, annuity, or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the Armed Forces should not be included in taxable income—if the veteran:

  • Was entitled to receive a disability payment before September 25, 1975 (or was under a commitment to become a member on September 24, 1975)
  • Receives disability payments for a combat-related injury or sickness that resulted directly from armed conflict; extra-hazardous service (including training exercises); or a military vehicle, vessel, or device 

Learn more about Idaho State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Disability Retired Pay

Idaho Veteran Benefits Include Tax Deduction for Military Survivor and Retiree Families

Retirement benefits paid by the United States to an unremarried surviving spouse of a service member if the recipient is age 65 or older (or disabled and age 62 or older) are deductible.

Learn more about Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) Idaho State Tax Benefits

Idaho Military Spouses Residency Relief Act

A significant Idaho veterans benefit: the earned income of qualifying military spouses is not subject to Idaho income tax!

The spouse must be married to a service member serving in Idaho; must have registered in the military with another state as a home of record; and must have moved to Idaho with the service member and have the same permanent residence as the service member.

If qualified, the spouse can claim an exemption on wages from Idaho withholding by filling out Idaho State Tax Commission Form ID-MS1 and giving it to the employer. The employer will keep a copy and send a copy to the Tax Commission. (A new form must be filled out each year).

Learn more about the Idaho Military Spouses Residency Relief Act


Do Idaho Veteran Benefits Provide Help With Employment?

Yes! Idaho’s Department of Labor stands ready to supplement Idaho veteran benefits by helping veterans learn new job skills or transition to new jobs and careers. They can assist you in choosing appropriate education and training.

Among the services Idaho provides for veterans seeking employment:

  • JobScape (computer-based labor market information) www2.labor.idaho.gov/jobscape
  • Assessments 
  • Job listings and qualified veteran employment programs for federal employment
  • State of Idaho job announcements and qualified veterans’ hiring preference information
  • Local job listings with local private employers

Idaho Veteran Benefits in Hiring Preferences

Idaho state law provides hiring preference to veterans. Hiring officials give preference to the initial employment of veterans in public service positions. This puts you in a more favorable competitive position for state government employment. Eligible Idaho veterans also receive preference for retention in the event of layoffs.

5-Point Veterans Preference Eligibility

An eligible veteran discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions (or the unremarried widow of any preference-eligible veteran) will have 5 points added to the final score of a competitive examination.

10-Point Disabled Veterans Preference Eligibility

Any veteran discharged or released under honorable conditions with a current VA disability of 10% or greater will have 10 points added to the final score of a competitive examination. This also applies to a Purple Heart recipient (or the unremarried widow of any preference-eligible disabled veteran or Purple Heart recipient).

Alternatively, the spouse of any qualifying veteran will receive an additional 10 points on the final score of a competitive examination (if the veteran cannot qualify for public employment because of a service-connected disability).

10-Point Disabled Veterans Preference Eligibility, Offer of Interview

In addition to having 10 points added to the final score of their competitive examination, any veteran with a current VA disability of 30% or greater will also be offered the chance to interview for the position (provided the veteran’s name appears among the top 25 qualified applicants).

Job Applications by Recently Discharged Military Personnel

Recently discharged military personnel undergoing service-connected hospitalization (up to one year following discharge) may file an application for any classified position within Idaho that has already closed. The application must be filed within 120 days of discharge or hospitalization. 

Idaho Veteran Benefits for Professional Licensing With No Fee 

Those holding occupational or professional licenses issued by the State of Idaho, and who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, aren’t required to pay any professional or occupational license or renewal fees required by Idaho for the period during which they are engaged in military service. During this period (and for six months following discharge) the license can’t be cancelled, suspended or revoked.

Also, state professional and occupational licensing boards may accept military education, training, and experience toward meeting the qualifications for a license, certification or registration. Boards may also expedite the application (or the application of a spouse).

You can direct questions to the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses by email at [email protected] or by phone at (208) 334-3233.

 Information regarding translating Military Experience to Professional or Occupational License


Idaho Women’s Veteran Benefits

Women represent an irreplaceable, valuable part of the U.S. Armed Forces. They’re the fastest-growing demographic group of veterans, making up 2 million, or 9.5%, of the 20 million U.S. veterans today. In Idaho alone, there are an estimated 10,000 women veterans.

While the number of veterans overall is decreasing, the number of women veterans is growing. The continued rise will increase demand for women’s health care services.

The State of Idaho is committed to gaining the trust of Idaho’s women veterans, and providing them with the quality of services all veterans deserve.

Idaho Veteran Benefits for Women’s General Health, Mental Health, and Other Special Programs

Every VA health facility is committed to meeting the unique needs of women veterans by delivering high-quality care while offering privacy, dignity, and sensitivity to gender-specific needs. 

Idaho veteran benefits include primary care, gynecological care, maternity care, birth control, infertility evaluation and treatment (excluding in-vitro fertilization), menopause evaluation and treatment, osteoporosis screening and treatment, cancer screenings, mammograms, wellness and healthy living, nutrition, and smoking cessation.

Specialized mental-health measures and issues include management of depression, anxiety and stress, adjustment from deployment, counseling and treatment for military sexual trauma, parenting and caregiver issues, domestic violence, and alcohol and drug dependence. 

Idaho’s VA facilities have full-time women veterans program managers ready to help. In Boise, contact: Boise Women Veterans Clinic (208) 422-1000


Idaho veteran benefits include tuition assistance and other opportunities for veterans and their families.

Idaho veterans school benefits

Idaho’s “Operation Education” Scholarship Program

Among Idaho veteran benefits is “Operation Education,” designed to financially assist severely injured U.S. military personnel (and their spouses). The program provides resources and support to empower these veterans and their families to pursue a degree at the University of Idaho.

Eligible individuals must:

  • Be honorably separated veterans
  • Have a service-connected disability caused by military service after September 11, 2001, that severely impacts the function of one or more major life activities
  • Meet the requirements for admission to the University of Idaho as a degree-seeking student
  • Enroll as a full-time undergraduate, graduate, or law student at the University of Idaho. (Note: The scholarship committee may make an exception for part-time enrollment if the disability and other circumstances preclude full-time enrollment)

The spouse of a veteran who meets the first two requirements above is eligible and also must meet admission requirements and enroll full-time.

Priority is given to Idaho residents and veterans whose injury and disability result from action in a combat zone.

Veterans’ spouses may apply jointly or individually for the “Operation Education” scholarship.


University of Idaho, Operation Education Eligibility Requirements

University of Idaho, Operation Education, Resources and Support

University of Idaho, Operation Education, How to Apply/Application

Learn more about the Idaho Operation Education Scholarship Program

Idaho In-State Tuition for Service Members and Dependents

Any independent student, spouse, or parent of a dependent student who meets one of the following criteria will receive resident rates for tuition at the University of Idaho.

Eligible students include:

  • Members of the Armed Forces who entered service as an Idaho resident and have maintained Idaho resident status, but are stationed outside of Idaho on military orders
  • Members of the Armed Forces stationed in Idaho on military orders
  • Officers or enlisted members of the Idaho National Guard
  • Members who have separated under honorable conditions (after at least two years of service) and enter an Idaho public institution within one year of their separation date who: designated Idaho as their intended residence; listed Idaho as their home in service; moved to Idaho to establish residence

To maintain those Idaho veteran benefits as a resident student, the service member must actively establish Idaho residency within one year of registration at an Idaho public institution.

Learn more about Idaho in-state tuition for service members and dependents.


Idaho Veteran Benefits for Driver Licenses and Vehicle Plates

Veterans with proof of honorable discharge from military service will receive a veteran designation on an Idaho driver’s license or state-issued identification card at no charge. There is a $15 duplicate card fee to add the veteran designation at any other time. The designation is permanent and will not incur any additional costs.

Idaho veterans license plate benefits

Idaho Veteran Benefits for Special License Plates

Idaho veteran benefits include specialty license plates for veterans, disabled veterans, and qualifying family members.

The following specialty plates are available:

  • Branch of service (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard)
  • “Veteran” (no conflict designation); World War II; Korea; Vietnam; Persian Gulf; Afghanistan/Iraq (post 9/11/2001 service)
  • Gold Star Family (also requires a completed GS-001 Gold Star License Plate Verification Form GS-001)
  • Purple Heart
  • Military Reservist (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard)
  • Medal of Honor recipient or prisoner of war; contact ITD/Special Plates at (208) 334-8649 for application instructions.

All license plates and registration information can be found at Idaho DMV Online Services.


Idaho Disabled Veteran Benefits for State Parks, Hunting, and Fishing 

Famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, the Gem State offers its best to disabled veterans heading to the great outdoors. Idaho veterans with a 100% VA disability rating receive a free campsite while camping within Idaho’s state parks, as well as free day-use access. Find out more about Idaho state park passes, fees, and regulations.

Idaho Disabled Veteran Benefits Reduce Rates for Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Idaho disabled veteran benefits (DAV) may include reduced fees on licenses and tags. With the $5 DAV license, Idaho disabled veterans can purchase tags at reduced rates. 

Idaho disabled veterans must submit a letter from the VA verifying a service-connected disability rating of 40% or greater. Letters can be brought to any regional office or mailed to the address below. Such documentation may bear any date before the license application.

Documentation for the resident DAV license will be required only for the initial application, not subsequent applications.

Nonresident Disabled Veterans Get Reduced Fees 

Nonresident disabled American veterans with a VA disability rating of 40% or more are eligible for nonresident DAV reduced fees for licenses and tags. 

Individuals meeting the DAV requirements must submit a letter from the VA verifying a service-connected disability rating of 40% or greater. Letters can be brought to any regional office or mailed to the address below. Documentation may bear any date before the license application. 

Documentation for the resident DAV license will be required only for the initial application, not subsequent applications.

The nonresident DAV hunting license with a 3-day fishing license allows the nonresident DAV to purchase discounted, nonresident DAV tags at reduced rates. 

Idaho Disabled Veteran Benefits in the Special Big Game Tag Program

The Disabled Veterans Special Big Game Tag Program allows a qualified organization to apply for a special big-game hunt tag on behalf of an Idaho disabled veteran. A qualified organization is defined as a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(19) nonprofit organization, or a government agency, with a mission to afford opportunities, experiences, and assistance to Idaho disabled veterans. Qualification is not limited to organizations in Idaho.

New laws and rules are in place for these tags. Idaho Fish and Game makes five tags available each year. Tags are eligible to hunt deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, black bear, or mountain lion, except controlled hunts with fewer than five tags are not eligible. Participants are exempt from licensing requirements, and the tag is free.  

The application period is January. 2-January 31 of the calendar year of the hunt. Each year, the Idaho Division of Veterans Services will first screen all applicants and provide a list of screened applicants to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in priority order of issuance. The top two candidates sponsored by the Idaho Division of Veterans Services will receive a tag. Fish and Game will issue the three remaining tags to candidates sponsored by other qualified organizations.

There is no limitation to how many applicants a qualified organization may sponsor each year. 

Email your application to the address listed on the form or mail it to the address below.

Application for a DAV Special Big Game Hunt

Find more application forms at Idaho Fish and Game

Mail applications to:
Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game
Licensing Section
P.O. Box 25
Boise, ID 83707


Idaho Veterans Homes 

Idaho veteran benefits are available at Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing facilities in Idaho for veterans. Honorably discharged veterans and spouses who require professional nursing care are eligible for admission to the nursing homes. 

  • The Idaho State Veterans Home-Boise offers a 131-bed skilled nursing unit, a 36-bed residential unit, and a special care unit.
  • The Idaho State Veterans Homes in Lewiston and Pocatello are both 66-bed skilled nursing facilities.

There are limits to the number of spouses who may reside in a home at any given time. Also, spouses are not eligible for admission to the residential/domiciliary unit at the Boise home. 

Applicants may be peacetime or wartime veterans and spouses of eligible veterans; wartime veterans have priority admission status. An applicant must have been discharged under honorable conditions, be a resident of the State of Idaho, and be unemployable due to age, illness, or disability. Applicants must apply for and become eligible for Medicaid benefits or pay the established maximum monthly nursing care charge.

Peacetime or wartime veterans and their spouses must have a total service time of at least 90 days with an honorable discharge. Provide a copy of DD214 discharge papers with the application. (If the discharge papers are unavailable, a copy can be requested through the VA. The Idaho Division of Veterans Services [IDVS] will assist with the request.)

Applicants must also be residents of the State of Idaho at the time of application and:

  • Must apply for (or already receive) a VA pension and Aid and Attendance. The IDVS will assist with the pension application.
  • Be eligible and apply for Medicaid benefits or pay the current maximum monthly charge. Include with the application a copy of the veteran’s Medicare card, private insurance card, Social Security card, and Medicaid card.

The IDVS welcomes applicants who may not yet be Medicaid-approved and will assist them with the application process.

Veterans are admitted without regard to financial status. Spouses or surviving spouses of veterans (eligible for nursing care only) will need to provide proof of marriage when they apply.

Idaho State Veterans Home Admission Application


Idaho Veteran Benefits For Emergency Financial Assistance

The State of Idaho provides up to a $1,000 grant (in cases of extreme emergency) to wartime veterans in need. The veteran must have entered the military from Idaho (or lived within the state for at least five years). The event or emergency must have occurred within 90 days of the request.

For assistance, contact the Office of Veterans Advocacy at 208-780-1380.


Idaho Veteran Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Idaho veteran benefits include tax reductions and exemptions?

Yes, they do! Chief among the benefits for Idaho veterans are:

The “Circuit Breaker” property tax reduction, reducing Idaho disabled veterans’ property tax bill by $250-$1,500. Idaho disabled veterans may save as much as $1,500 with no income limit. Once the reduction is granted, a surviving spouse can continue to use this benefit. However, it’s not transferable to a new property after the death of the qualifying veteran.

Additionally, an Idaho veteran (or unremarried widow) age 65 or older (or disabled and age 62 or older) who is receiving veteran’s retirement benefits may deduct those benefits. 

Another Idaho program defers taxes on the veteran’s home (and up to one acre of land) for qualified individuals. The deferred taxes become a lien on the property and must be repaid to the State of Idaho. There’s an income limit for this program.

Qualifying spouses of Idaho service members are not subject to Idaho income tax! 

Do Idaho veteran benefits provide emergency financial assistance?

Yes! Idaho provides a grant of up to $1,000 to needy wartime veterans in cases of extreme emergency. The veteran must have entered the military from Idaho or lived within the state for five years. The event or emergency must have occurred within 90 days of the request.

Do Idaho veteran benefits give preferential treatment for public employment?

Yes! In Idaho, it’s the law. In all public employment in the State of Idaho (excluding some key employee positions), hiring officials must give preference to the initial employment of Idaho veterans.

Idaho veteran benefits provide a more-favorable competitive position for state government employment. Advantages for eligible veterans include preference for initial employment and retention in the event of layoffs.

Do Idaho veteran benefits include a special rate on professional/occupational licenses?

Yes, those holding occupational or professional licenses issued by the State of Idaho, and who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, are exempt from any fees for any professional or occupational license while on active duty. During this period, and for six months following discharge, the license can’t be canceled, suspended, or revoked.

Do Idaho veteran benefits provide veterans and their families with college tuition assistance?

Yes. Any independent student, spouse, or parent of a dependent student who qualifies will pay tuition at the University of Idaho at resident rates. The service member must actively establish Idaho residency within one year of registration.

Are Idaho disabled veteran benefits good for hunting and fishing licenses?

Yes! Idaho disabled veterans (DAV) may be eligible for reduced fees on licenses and tags. Idaho disabled veterans must submit a letter from the VA verifying a service-connected disability rating of 40% or greater. Letters can be brought to any regional office or mailed. Documentation may bear any date before the license application. Documentation for the resident DAV license will be required only for the initial application, not subsequent applications.


MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS YOU DESERVE

Regardless of what state you live in, it’s important that you pursue the monthly compensation payments due to you for disabilities connected to your military service.

Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and therefore not getting the compensation they deserve. At VA Claims Insider, we help veterans understand and take control of the claims process so they can get the rating and compensation they’re owed by law.

Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating in less time!  

If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating – or you’re not sure how to get started – reach out to us for a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call, so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you deserve. We’ve supported more than 15,000 veterans to win their claims and increase their ratings. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.


About the Author

About VA Claims Insider

VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements (medical nexus letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.

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